People who give album reviews after one day are fucking posers. You need to let the songs marinate and sort out the first impressions from the real shit. So after a month of really listening, here are my rankings and review.
If you disagree with any of these, please never read my posts again.
Snoozers… or Vigilante Shit
20. Vigilante Shit – This song is not a snoozer! It’s just bad. She had to have some homage to Reputation, but this just… isn’t worth listening to more than a few times. If you want this vibe just listen to Reputation, there are way better songs on there.
19. Labyrinth – Snoozefest. 3 minutes of rambling to get to a bizarre payoff, though “oh oh, I’m falling in love” can get stuck in your head.
18. Dear Reader – The 20th song on the album, right where it should be. Boring. That’s all.
17. High Infidelity – Could do without this song. I don’t give a fuck about Calvin Harris.
16. Glitch – “I think there’s been a glitch” is literally the only good part of the entire song, but the way she says it is pretty badass.
15. Bigger than the Whole Sky – This isn’t horrible, it feels meaningful, it’s not trash, but I don’t really want to listen to it.
Good Not Great
14. Snow on the Beach – I imagine OD’ing on heroin while this song is playing in the background. Every time it comes on I just black out for four minutes and then it’s over.
13. Maroon – This should be a better song but the vibe is just off to me. I can’t explain it, but I fight the urge to skip it every time it’s on, but when I listen to it, it’s not actually that bad.
12. Question…? – This should be better, but HOLY SHIT the lyrics in the chorus are flat out the worst, most cringey part of this album. This should be on the playlist but that alone keeps it off.
11. Paris – The song would be a banger on a road trip or something, but it’s pretty fucking cheesy. Feels like a discarded Red song. Goes without saying that ‘Paris‘ and ‘where else‘ is an ass rhyme.
10. Sweet Nothing – A sweet song. “Just too soft for all of it” fits it perfectly and I like the overall message, but just not enough here. That’s okay, there’s not supposed to be.
9. Mastermind – Lots of people have this as a top song. It’s clever, it tells a story, it’s vaguely catchy, but musically this is just not one I feel compelled to revisit. If anything I dislike it musically, but the rest saves it.
Add Them to the Playlist
8. Midnight Rain – Say what you want about the voice. I’m a fan of the voice. This isn’t a banger by any means but the chorus, specifically the first half, is catchy as hell, and it’s short enough to make the cut.
7. The Great War – This song seems to get shit on but uh… I like it? It’s nothing flashy, it’s a little longer than it needs to be, but it’s just good start to finish.
6. Bejeweled – Kind of gimmicky but it’s good all around. The repeating high pitched “nice!” is the best part and it’s never boring. A diamond’s gotta shine!
5. Lavender Haze – This was pretty close to making the classics, but any song about Joe inherently bores me. That said, it’s a great lead off to the album.
Best of the Best
4. Anti-Hero – This is not the best song on the album, but it might be the most well rounded / best encapsulation of the album. “I’m the problem, it’s me” may be the most TikTokable lyric ever written.
3. Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve – A creative and unique song that keeps the pace flying for the last two minutes. It’s a Speak Now song written by 32 year old Taylor instead of 20 year old Taylor. Love it anytime someone questions their faith! I imagine John Mayer isn’t bothered by it anymore.
2. You’re On Your Own, Kid – Great story telling from start to finish with a strong build to a powerful bridge and final chorus with a great overall message. This didn’t hit home the first few listens the way it does now. Excellent song and I could see it rising to #1 upon a rereview in the future.
1. Karma – The best song after one listen, the best song after 100 listens. Pure catchy, pop Taylor. If you don’t like this you’re just a hater. “Karma is a cat purring on my lap cause it loves me” may be the best lyric she’s ever written. It might be the best lyric ever written period.
Overall – 7.25/10
This is a good album. It was cleverly released, had a pretty sound concept to it, and did a good job revisiting basically every era of her career while still being original. In my opinion, it’s not a masterpiece, and it does take time to grow on you. It slots somewhere in the Lover territory for me, and it’s a welcome addition to the full catalog.